Obstetrician found guilty of misconduct and poor performance

Andrea Hermann worked as obstetric and gynaecology registrar at Sligo General Hospital

A file photograph of Dr Andrea Hermann, a consultant obstetrician and gynaecologist, who was  found guilty of poor professional performance and professional misconduct by the Irish Medical Council. Photograph:  Collins Courts.

A file photograph of Dr Andrea Hermann, a consultant obstetrician and gynaecologist, who was found guilty of poor professional performance and professional misconduct by the Irish Medical Council. Photograph: Collins Courts.

 

An obstetrician who made a number of serious errors when treating new mothers has been found guilty of poor professional performance on 17 counts by a Medical Council inquiry.

Dr Andrea Hermann, who worked as an obstetric and gynaecology registrar at Sligo General Hospital in 2013 and 2014, was also found guilty of professional misconduct on three counts.

The council will now determine any sanction that might apply to Dr Hermann.

The poor professional performance findings relate to the care provided to six mothers, who attended the hospital between August 2013 and February 2014.

The Irish Medical Council inquiry also found that Dr Hermann failed to disclose to the hospital conditions imposed on her by the Irish Medical Council as a result of a previous disciplinary hearing. These conditions included a requirement to undergo retraining and supervision.

The inquiry found that Dr Hermann failed to perform an elective caesarean section with due skill, making an abnormal wound incision on one mother.

This patient, identified as Patient A, said Dr Hermann told her she “cut her in the wrong place” during the procedure on December 4th, 2013.

In relation to Patient B, a mother-of-three from Carrick-on-Shannon, the inquiry found Dr Hermann failed to obtain informed consent prior to carrying out a membrane sweep during an antenatal visit on August 15th, 2013.

Contraceptive coil

In relation to Patient C, the inquiry found Dr Hermann failed to establish whether a contraceptive coil was still in place during a follow-up appointment. This patient later conceived and miscarried, the inquiry heard.

During the inquiry, Dr Vimla Sharma, a consultant gynaecologist from Sligo General Hospital, said she was “shocked” when she learned Dr Hermann had given a blood thinning drug to Patient D who was already at risk of heavy bleeding. The inquiry found that Dr Hermann prescribed Innohep Tinzaparin to Patient D when it was not appropriate to do so.

“I was shocked because Innohep is an anti-coagulant, which we avoid during labour,” Dr Sharma said.

She explained that as Patient D had given birth multiple times, this put her at a greater risk of blood loss and that Innohep also placed her at risk for this. Patient D later gave birth without any complications.

The inquiry also found that Dr Hermann failed to display adequate surgical skill while closing up the uterus after a C-section on Patient F.

Dr Hermann’s former supervisor said she made “an astonishing mistake” while performing the section on Patient F. Dr Hermann left the lower half of a mother’s uterus “in the breeze” after failing to suture the section properly, consultant obstetrician and gynaecologist Dr Heather Langan, from Sligo General Hospital, said.

Previous inquiry

Dr Hermann, who qualified in Germany, had worked in the Galway Clinic up to 2009. She was the subject of a previous Medical Council inquiry in 2009 and 2010.

The council had then recommended that she be suspended from June 2010-June 2011 and that certain conditions be attached to her registration, such as agreeing to certain supervision, once she began work again.

Dr Michael Ryan, chair of the inquiry, said Dr Hermann did not make a full and truthful disclosure about the conditions attached to her registration to Sligo General Hospital. He said there was a “serious lack of candour” on her part to the hospital regarding her status with the Medical Council.

Dr Hermann’s legal representative, Gerard O’Donnell, read out a statement on her behalf at the beginning of the hearing, before going off record. In it, she said of the council: “It feels to me you are disappointed that I’m still alive.”

Mr O’Donnell said Dr Hermann admitted to the clinical allegations against her but did not admit to the allegations in relation to not disclosing the conditions attached to her registration to Sligo General Hospital.